I was drawn to this book by the exquisite illustrations and the promises they held of fantastic world building.
The creatures created were fabulous and the machines even more intriguing.
I most enjoyed the narrative when told from the point of view of the Austrian prince Aleksander. While we are with the Clankers the story is pacey and exciting. I also enjoyed the testing my memory of A level history trying to remember which parts of the history were real and which alternate.
Unfortunately I found the other main character a little bit too 'jolly hockey sticks!' for my adult sensibilities. And I found the other important female character Dr Barlow to be irritating. The sections told from Deryn's point of view were full of action but still seemed a little ponderous.
I was also very disappointed to discover that the book ends halfway through the story. Most first books in a series give some kind of conclusion but this simply leaves you hanging.
I did really enjoy this book but felt I would have got much more pleasure from it, and the rest of the series, if I had read it when I was 11 years old.